Sonata Senior Living Welcomes Stephanie Braudrick to Executive Team

Sonata Senior Living Welcomes Stephanie Braudrick to
Executive Team as Vice President of Sales

Orlando, FL, September 12, 2022—Orlando-based Sonata Senior Living continues its corporate reorganization focused on growth with the appointment of Stephanie Braudrick as its new Vice President of Sales. An industry veteran with over two decades of experience in senior living, Braudrick will help drive occupancy performance across the organization’s portfolio.

Braudrick joins Sonata with expertise in sales management and revenue transformation. Over the course of her career, she has held sales leadership roles in all aspects of senior care, including national third-party referral providers, home health, and hospice organizations.

“We are excited to add someone of Stephanie’s caliber to our executive leadership team” said Jamie Merrill, COO of Sonata Senior Living. “Her top-line sales approach will help fuel our continued growth and performance.”

Braudrick’s passion is driving results, with a focus on talent development and sales process excellence at the highest levels. Her dedication to team culture and fostering a collaborative team approach are what have led to many successes throughout her career.

“We recently launched a newly defined cultural initiative across Sonata’s organization called We Are One” said Shelley Esden, President, and CEO of Sonata Senior Living. “Stephanie’s collaborative style aligns nicely with our focus on one team moving towards success.”

Before joining Sonata, Stephanie held multi-site leadership roles with top national providers Holiday Retirement, Elmcroft Senior Living, and Emeritus Senior Living. She has also held leadership roles with technology leaders A Place for Mom and Caring.com.

Ms. Braudrick is a graduate of The University of Texas at Arlington. She resides in Central Florida with her family, where she pursues her love of writing and spending time enjoying the various beaches of Florida.

About Sonata Senior Living

Sonata Senior Living is a regional owner, developer, and operator of independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities. Founded in 2008, Sonata currently operates over 1090 units throughout Florida. The tenured Sonata team has earned a longstanding reputation as a trusted and proven provider of new development and turnaround acquisitions. Recipients of multiple Argentum Best of Best Awards, innovation, and service awards, Sonata’s pursuit of service excellence, unwavering commitment to its core values, and investment in top talent have made Sonata a provider of choice.

For more information on Sonata Senior Living, visit www.sonataseniorliving.com

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Five Things We Love About Seniors

Five Things We Love About Seniors

At Sonata Senior Living, we’ve spent a great deal of time serving and caring for people in their so-called Golden Years. What is it about seniors we love so much, we asked ourselves? After a lifetime of giving, what do our elders have to offer us and what common ground do we share?

Although everyone may answer that question in their own way, we’d like to suggest a few things our experience has taught us over the years.

Seniors Are Our Link To The Way We Were

Ever wonder what it was really like, growing up way back when? When the country was in the throes of World War II? When a man named Elvis was taking the country by storm? When the civil rights era was in its infancy, or when the country was mesmerized by the space race or the ‘70s women’s movement? Or simply what it was like to grow up in a time very different from our own?

The lives of seniors are living history. But instead of getting the history book version, seniors will give you a firsthand account of how events actually impacted them, and what it felt like as our country’s story unfolded. Listening to seniors’ stories is both fascinating and enjoyable, a gift for both storyteller and listener.

Seniors Have Learned To Laugh About Life

Research has proven that older adults enjoy humor more than younger people. Seniors are just as likely as the grandchildren to surprise with a snappy sense of humor, a tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, a dusty joke or a moment of silliness in a world that takes itself seriously.

It may be that this surprising senior humor is the product of simply having faced many of life’s struggles and prevailed. Whatever the cause, it is our experience that seniors have an uncanny way of helping us laugh out loud, even when we’re feeling stress in our lives.

Seniors Love To Share Their Interests.

Again, defying the stereotypes, being senior isn’t all bingo. Give a senior a chance and he or she will share what interests them. At Sonata, we have been blessed with being able to discover senior interests in art, literature and music, as well as passions as diverse as birding, genealogy and miniatures.

Giving a senior time to share their interests is more than an invitation to broaden our empathy. It’s a genuine chance to learn something about a facet of life that otherwise might have evaded us. Learning the interests of seniors can make us more interesting.

Seniors Reaffirm The Importance Of Family

If you are looking for a way to connect with seniors, few avenues get you to the heart like relating on the basis of family. Of course, seniors love sharing stories and photos about their children and grandchildren.

This not only presents us with a chance to connect on a deeper emotional level, but it also yields an opportunity to share our own family stories. We may find that these moments help us recover memories of our own grandparents or keep fresh the memories of our own family members.

Seniors Love Connecting

Our lives demand attention. There is no substitute for being fully present when we’re engaging with someone, even on a casual basis.

At Sonata, our residents give us a valuable opportunity to step outside the swirl of our own lives and find real meaning in real people, and that the rewards of doing so greatly exceed the effort we put forth.

To discover for yourself the unexpected rewards and joys of today’s seniors – and today’s senior living – Sonata invites you to visit any of our communities and learn about the benefits of senior living. If you have a loved one who may be ready for the connections that a community of the like-minded offer, we’re here to help.

Learn more about the award-winning
independent and assisted living at Sonata Senior Living and schedule a tour today.

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Medications and Extreme Heat: A Dangerous Combination

Medications and Extreme Heat: A Dangerous Combination

There are many reasons why older adults flock to Florida in retirement. In addition to the tax advantages and abundance of outdoor activities, Florida has delightful warm weather for eight months out of the year!

Unfortunately, there is also a downside to living so close to the equator. Namely, the summer heat index and threat it poses to older adults.

Age and Hyperthermia

The extreme heat in Florida during the summer months can be especially challenging for older adults. That’s because, as we age, the body’s natural defenses against heat are compromised, increasing our risk of heat-related illness and hyperthermia.

As we get older, it becomes harder to regulate body temperature. Age-related changes to the skin can cause poor blood circulation. Sweat gland shrink and become less sensitive with age. As a result, older adults are more vulnerable to heat-related illness.

Under ordinary conditions, the human body can cool itself by sweating, but extreme heat may rise body temperature too fast, putting older adults in danger of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Children and adults aged 65 and older are most at risk for heat stroke, but people taking certain medications are also at a disproportionate risk.

Medications with Thermoregulatory Effects

Medications are meant to help us manage chronic health conditions and relieve unwanted symptoms, yet sometimes create unwanted side effects.

Many older adults take prescription medications, but do not fully realize the impact medications can have on body temperature regulation. This is especially important during extreme heat since certain medications are known to increase the risk of heat-related illness.

For example, some medications reduce sweating, preventing the body from cooling naturally. Others lower blood pressure, which can increase the likelihood of fainting in extreme heat. Still others increase sweating which can lead to dehydration.

The key is to understand the risks associated with your medications and take appropriate measures to stay cool during a heat event.

According to the CDC, heat-related illness­­ may increase among those who use the following medications:

  • Psychotropics such as haloperidol or chlorpromazine
  • Tranquilizers such as phenothiazines, butyrophenones and thiozanthenes
  • Diuretics such as furosemide or hydrochlorothiazide

An article in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics point to diuretics as a significant risk factor for heat-related illness, especially when combined with an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB), anticholinergics and psychotropics.

According to ClevelandClinic.org, medications for enlarged prostate and overactive bladder, including tamsulosin, oxybutynin and tolterodine, may also diminish the body’s ability to cool itself, putting seniors at increased risk of heat-related illnesses.

Other medications that interfere with temperature regulation and cause heat sensitivity include antihistamines, beta-blockers and amphetamines, as reported by nbcnews.com.

Heat-Related illness and Body Thermoregulation

We know certain medicines accentuate the risk of heat-related illness, but how exactly? Oftentimes sweat—or the lack of it—is to blame.

The body relies on the evaporation of sweat to cool itself in extreme heat and a disrupted capacity to sweat—whether caused by diuretics or antiparkinson drugs—is often the cause of illness.

The body has several million sweat glands, but some drugs interfere with the muscarinic nerve endings of the cholinergic nerve fibres that innervate the sweat glands. When you lose the ability to sweat, the body cannot regulate core body temperature

Combined with other side effects, medications can disrupt normal thermoregulatory function in more ways than one:

  • Diuresis and electrolyte imbalance
  • Sedation and cognitive impairment
  • Reduced thirst recognition
  • Reduced sweat production
  • Changes in peripheral vasodilation or hypotension
  • Changes in cardiac output

If you are unsure of your risk, talk to your doctor about the possible interaction between your prescription medications and extreme heat.

Medical Conditions and Heat Safety

Many older adults take more than one prescription drug and manage a chronic health condition like heart disease and dementia, creating an unsafe recipe in extreme heat.

What’s more, some health conditions both increase the risk of heat-related illness and are treated by drugs that impact thermoregulation.

Studies have shown that people with mental illness are at an even higher risk of heat stroke due to psychiatric medications.  Alzheimer’s disease and dementia also place older adults at higher risk of heat stroke. The confusion caused by dementia may impair a person’s ability to recognize warning signs in the body, including dehydration and heat exhaustion. Or, the symptoms and behaviors of dementia may cause someone to wander outside, become lost, or seek shelter in a parked car, which can reach dangerously high temperatures in the heat.

Memory Care and Senior Safety

Wandering is so common among people with dementia that many organizations offer GPS bracelets that can help you locate your loved one if they leave home without your knowledge or become lost.

A memory care community such as Serenades Memory Care by Sonata is the safest option to assure protection in extreme heat. Safety and security features such as monitored entrances and exits are built into the design of memory care communities to prevent a loved one from wandering outside in the extreme heat.

Remember, heat stroke is a medical emergency. If you believe someone may be suffering from heat stroke, call 911 or get medical attention right away.

To learn more about Serenades Memory Care and senior safety at Sonata,
schedule a visit to a community near you.

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Summer Safety and Seniors: Staying Cool in Extreme Heat

Summer Safety and Seniors: Staying Cool in Extreme Heat

As much as Florida is a retirement destination for seniors, summer in Florida can be extremely hot and dangerous to older adults who do not take the proper precautions to stay cool.

Extreme heat causes more weather-related deaths in the United States than hurricanes, flooding and tornadoes combined, and Florida has been known to break several heat records. What’s more, extreme heat events are on the rise and climatologists forecast hotter times ahead, making heat safety a priority for all ages.

Extreme Heat and Heat-Related Illness

Extreme heat is defined as weather that is much hotter and/or humid than average for a particular time and place. Extreme heat is the number one cause of heat-related illness and a serious threat to seniors.

Heat-related illness takes many forms and can include sunburn, heat rash, heat cramps, heat edema, heat syncope, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Knowing how to prevent heat-related illness can save your life, according to the National Institute of Health.

Seniors and Extreme Heat Safety

Adults aged 65 and older are at high risk of heat-related illness, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. That’s because older adults are more likely to have a chronic medical condition or take prescription medications that affect their ability to regulate body temperature.

Remember, heat stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency! If you encounter anyone experiencing the symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 and take steps to reduce body temperature using whatever methods you can.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the warning signs and symptoms of heat stroke may include:

  • High body temperature (above 103°F or higher)
  • Red, hot and dry skin
  • Rapid or strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

After calling 911 for help, if you suspect heat stroke, it is important to take steps to reduce body temperature using one of the following methods:

  • Call 911 immediately
  • Move to a cooler place (indoors or shade)
  • Immerse in a cool bath or shower
  • Turn victim on side to keep airway open
  • Do NOT give liquids

Staying Safe in Extreme Heat

When it comes to senior safety during extreme heat, there are five key strategies for staying safe:

1. Air Conditioning. If you live in Florida, you must either have air conditioning or have access to it to stay safe in extreme heat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, air conditioning is the number-one protective action against extreme heat. If your home is not air-conditioned, they advise protecting yourself by finding public facilities that are air-conditioned such as a shopping mall, senior center or library.Due to extreme heat in summer months, many counties in Florida open 24-hour air-conditioned cooling centersfor emergency relief. Even a few hours of cool air conditioning can make a difference to those subjected to high temperatures for prolonged periods. Contact your local health department to locate a local cooling center if you do not have access to air conditioning.

2. Hydration. Most of us know hydration is an important factor in preventing heat-related illness, but what kind of liquids are best for older adults? For example, since we know sweat is important to the body to regulate heat, does it matter what temperature water we drink? As it turns out, despite some claims, consumption of hot water does not provide any thermoregulatory advantages and the temperature of fluids does not make a difference in core body temperature. Medical professionals recommend 6-8 glasses of water daily to stay hydrated. Even some foods can help older adults stay hydrated. Avoid caffeine, sugar and alcohol, as these can make heat-related illness worse. Most importantly, don’t wait until you are thirsty to hydrate, because by the time you realize you are thirsty, it might be too late to ward off heat-related illness.

3. Limited Activity. During extreme heat, it is important that older adults stay in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible and limit outdoor activity. If avoiding the outdoors is not possible, try to schedule outdoor activities early or late in the day during cooler temperatures and pace yourself by walking slowly and resting often. If you must go outside, older adults should take extra precautions to dress properly and stay in the shade away from direct sunlight.

4. Dress Property. When you venture outside in extreme heat, experts recommend wearing loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing to help keep the body cool. Technically, sunburn is a form of heat illness caused by exposure to UV rays from the sun, and a broad spectrum sunscreen can prevent sunburn. Since sunburn diminishes the body’s ability to cool itself, exposure to the sun can exacerbate other forms of heat-related illness. A wide brimmed hat and umbrella can also help protect skin against sunburn.

5. Cool Off. Most of us know a cold shower can help lower body temperature quickly and ward off heat-related illness, but not everyone has access to a shower during a crisis–that is, when you are outside in the extreme heat showing signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke prognosis is closely related to the amount of time the body temperature remains elevated, so first aid cooling techniques generally recommend cool-water immersion. When water immersion is unavailable, ice water towels combined with ice packs on the head, trunk, and extremities provide effective, but slower whole-body cooling. Some studies show forearm immersion cooling effective at lowering body temperature quickly than other methods.

Want to know more? Get answers to your questions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Frequently Asked Questions About Extreme Heat.

Safety in Senior Living

Not only does Florida pose the threat of extreme heat, but it is also at risk of power outages caused by hurricanes. Seniors must take extra precautions to stay safe during a hurricane.

Independent and assisted living communities like Sonata Senior Living in Florida have hurricane safety protocols in place to protect their residents, offering safe accommodations to older adults who may not be safe at home. In fact, Florida assisted living facilities are required to have backup power generators that will ensure yours or your loved one’s safety during a hurricane or extreme heat event.

Learn the five most important ways senior living keeps seniors safe.

Stay Safe By Staying Cool

It is important for seniors to protect themselves during the hot summer months in Florida. During an extreme heat event, be sure to check on neighbors and loved ones, especially those that live alone. It never hurts to remind someone to stay safe during the hot summer months.

If are unsure if your loved one is safe, a home visit from Sonata
Senior Living can help. To learn more, schedule a visit
to a Sonata Senior Living community near you.

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Gardening at Sonata Senior Living

The Benefits of Florida Assisted Living

The Benefits of Florida Assisted Living

When exploring senior care options for the first time, many people are surprised to learn that senior living communities offer older adults much more than a place to live. Florida senior living enriches the lives of older adults in many ways while giving them opportunities to participate in more activities and events than would normally be available to them. From painting and dancing to gardening and bocce ball, older adults thrive on picking up new hobbies later in life or reigniting old passions.

In fact, many of Sonata Senior Living’s families say they learned an important lesson during the pandemic. That is, being alone and isolated in your home takes a toll on emotional health. The robust social environment in Florida assisted living communities keeps older adults active and engaged, improving emotional health for residents and reducing worry for families.

Many adult children also worry when they see an aging parent struggling to keep up with home maintenance, bills, cooking, cleaning, and other responsibilities. They are frequently relieved to learn the expenses and chores that come with maintaining these tasks are someone else’s responsibility in a senior living community.

Safety is also a common concern among families exploring senior living for a loved one. Ultimately, peace of mind depends on the knowledge that all aspects of health and wellness are nurtured in a senior living community.

At Sonata, we believe protecting the health and well-being of our residents requires nothing less than a fully coordinated effort that actively meets the demands of a changed world. Sonata Safe, our signature safety program, combines the latest innovations in technology and communications, staff training, infection prevention guidelines and hurricane preparedness protocols to create and maintain next-level safety and security for all.

A Life Rope To Those in Need of Support

For many adult children, the search for an assisted living community is often triggered by a parent’s health condition, increasing difficulty with everyday activities such as taking medications, or even a recent fall. Yet caring for an aging parent can be both emotional and overwhelming, and the care assistance afforded by an assisted living community can be a life-rope to many.

Professional caregivers available 24-7 in an assisted living community offer older adults a level of support and assistance that an adult child may not be prepared or even able to provide. Caregiving can be a demanding job, particularly for those looking after a parent with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

The professional caregivers at memory care communities like Serenades Memory Care by Sonata are specially trained to meet the unique needs of those with memory challenges, offering much-needed respite to those who struggle to balance the demands of working with caring for a parent.

At Sonata Senior Living, our families also enjoy the “concierge” aspect of senior living. Many things are arranged for the residents—from meals and housekeeping to transportation and health services—so they are assured their loved ones will not only receive the best possible care and nutrition, but also benefit from the coordinated health care services.

A Passport to New Passions and Pursuits

As we age, it becomes harder to meet new people. Contact with others becomes more limited due to life changes like leaving the workforce. We may be more likely to experience the death of a spouse.

Aging also increases our risk of developing health conditions that make it harder to leave the home, drive, and, for instance, meet a friend for lunch.

Moving to a senior living community can ease feelings of loneliness and social isolation. For one, older adults instantly gain access to a network of peers who live nearby. Senior living residents also enjoy a robust offering of social events, activities, and interest groups.

Daily events and activities make it easier to get to know your neighbors and form new friendships. They provide the sense of purpose and fulfillment that the National Institute on Aging says can help support a healthier and happier retirement. That’s because social engagement is vital to both cognitive and physical health. From friendly card games and museum outings to history lectures and pool parties, the social events in senior living communities are as varied and diverse and they are meaningful and fun.

In short, senior living is the best way to combat the loneliness that many older adults experience while opening the door to explore new passions and pursuits.

Senior Living For Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Health

For many people, retirement is not just about retiring from work; it’s about enhancing life in ways that improve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Senior living, particularly in Florida, is a popular way to transition from the responsibility of maintaining a home to a carefree lifestyle with new meaning and purpose.

Retirement communities that offer an active lifestyle and more choice and variety in amenities and programming are not only the trend, but the expectation among seniors today. To meet this demand, Sonata Senior Living communities incorporate features that seniors love most, including wellness centers and spas; outdoor recreational spaces and walking paths; bars and bistros and chef-inspired dining, just to name a few. Each day brings new opportunities to make friends and attend events, from music concerts to cooking classes to art lessons and more. Residents often say they feel like they are on an extended vacation or “land cruise” with diverse and varied entertainment and dining options.

Newer construction in senior living features a level of luxury that has never been seen before by previous generations, creating more ways for older adults to enjoy their retirement years and experience a maintenance-free lifestyle with less stress. Along with innovative technology and luxury amenities, Sonata Senior Living emphasizes concierge and hospitality services that simply make retirement living easier.

While some people still perceive senior living as a “nursing home” or “senior home” for the old and frail, the retirement living concept has radically evolved over the years and looks entirely different than it did a decade or even a few years ago. Seniors of all ages and care levels often find downsizing and ridding their lives of home maintenance and upkeep a liberating and even rejuvenating experience. Many say they wish they had moved sooner.

If you are exploring senior living in Florida, learn more about the advantages of renting in retirement.

Learn more about the award-winning independent and assisted living at
Sonata Senior Living and schedule a tour today.

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Hydration for seniors

What Foods Help Hydrate Older Adults?

What Foods Help Hydrate Older Adults?

Hydration is serious business for the health and well-being of older adults. Dehydration is much more common than you may think for older adults, and the medical risks of dehydration can be significant. As a caregiver, staying on top of hydration and other caregiver duties can seem daunting. But with enough information and focus on getting your loved one enough fluid, you can prevent dehydration.

You probably think of drinking water as the primary method of staying hydrated. Water consumption is a significant part of staying hydrated, but so are foods with a high water concentration. As people age, their thirst mechanism starts to decline for reasons that aren’t entirely known. So, having alternatives to water will ensure that an older adult stays hydrated and healthy.

Why Hydration is Important to Older Adults

Dehydration, especially in hot and humid conditions like those found in Florida, is a significant health risk for older adults. Studies show that 37% of men and women aged 65 and older admitted to the emergency room presented with dehydration. Health consequences of dehydration can include:

  • Constipation
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Kidney problems
  • Loss of balance
  • Exacerbation of cognitive decline
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weakness
  • Pressure sores
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Mood changes
  • Shock

Dehydration is associated with six times greater risk of in-hospital mortality than those who are not dehydrated. So, as you can see, preventing dehydration before a medical problem arises is important to the safety and well-being of older adults.

Why Hydration in Older Adults is a Problem

If we know that hydration is a problem for older adults, why does the problem persist? There are several reasons for this.

  • Dehydration goes unrecognized
  • Misdiagnosis of dehydration
  • No one to regularly monitor intake
  • Lack of thirst mechanism
  • Poor nutrition
  • Inability to communicate thirst
  • Declining kidney function
  • Fewer water reserves as you age
  • Medication side effects

Management of hydration needs requires close and careful monitoring. If you suspect that you or someone else is dehydrated, make an appointment with your health provider as soon as possible. Some older adults may require IV fluids to recover.

Dangers of Dehydration on Those With dementia

If you have a loved one with dementia, the challenges of keeping them hydrated increases significantly, especially if they live at home. The brain is made up of water, and dehydration can cause the brain to shrink. Simply put: water helps everyone think better. For someone with dementia, anything that helps improve cognition is a benefit.

Dehydration in someone with dementia can be devastating, leading to disorientation, falls, and confusion. In the heat of summer, heatstroke can lead to even more severe repercussions. When someone can’t remember when they had their last drink of water or whether they had a meal, close monitoring is necessary to ensure proper hydration and nutrition. You can’t rely on a loved one’s recollection of water intake, and even the ability to communicate hunger and thirst may not be possible for someone with dementia.

Hydration Requirements for Older Adults

The most accepted hydration requirement recommended by medical professionals is 6-8 glasses of water daily. But there are mitigating factors to consider before adopting this rule:

  • Body weight
  • Altitude and climate
  • Medical conditions
  • Dietary constraints
  • Exercise habits

The best way to gauge hydration requirements for your loved one is to talk with their physician. Keep in mind that conditions can change. If your loved one is sick, they may need more water, or if they have trouble swallowing, their liquids may need to be thickened to prevent aspiration.

Assisted living communities can help ensure older adults get the hydration they need to stay healthy. If you are unsure if assisted living is right for you, learn how to recognize the telltale signs.

Recommended Foods for Hydration

In assisted living and memory care, nutrition and hydration are carefully managed as part of a thoughtfully planned dining program. Selections are reviewed and approved by a nutritionist and healthy and delicious dietary choices and offered daily.

As a family caregiver, you may not have access to all the foods and vegetables available at an assisted living community, but you can find many at the grocery store. Learn more about the water content of foods here.

To get started at home, here are a few fruits and vegetables with high water content:

  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Zucchini

Your loved one may not want to eat simple raw vegetables and fruit, so you may need to take a creative approach to make these foods appealing.

Creative Ways To Improve Hydration

As an older person’s appetite decreases, smaller, more frequent meals that are high in water content might be more manageable. Try and avoid high sugar fluids like fruit juices and sodas. And remember, caffeine is a diuretic.

Try these creative approaches to improve hydration in older adults:

  • Make a smoothie with veggies and banana – A simple blender can handle the duties of blending greens, carrots, bananas, and other fruit. Throw in some protein powder as well.
  • Create a fresh fruit salad – Fresh fruit salads with watermelon, cantaloupe, and strawberries are refreshing and will provide a hefty dose of water.
  • Use cucumbers or peppers for dips – Replace chips with fresh cucumbers and peppers for dipping hummus, guacamole, and yogurt-based dips.
  • Make a salad topped with fruit – A salad topped with strawberries, apples, oranges, or other fruit can liven up a bland vegetable dish.
  • Grill veggies – Grilling with some light olive oil and herbs make vegetables more appealing and easier to chew.

Managing the hydration and nutrition of an aging loved one can be challenging and time-consuming. The person-centered care of assisted living and memory care communities can ensure that your loved one stays hydrated and healthy through individually tailored meals and a hydration schedule.

Schedule a visit to Sonata Senior Living to learn more about our
person-centered approach to assisted living care.

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Five Questions You Must Ask Every Memory Care Community

Five Questions You Must Ask Every Memory Care Community

Deciding on the right time to get memory care support for your loved one can be an emotional journey. Most families reach a point when caring for someone with dementia becomes difficult to manage, and sometimes staying in a home environment is unsafe.

Dementia is a progressive brain disease. As the disease progresses, more assistance with activities of daily living may  be needed as well as support with managing a variety of difficult symptoms and behaviors.

Fortunately, memory care communities provide the kind of specialized care that people with memory challenges need. Yet not all memory care communities in Florida are the same.

Caregiver Priorities for Memory Care

Alzheimer’s and dementia care are complex. As you consider your options, there are literally dozens of questions you can ask to ensure your loved one gets the best care possible. But many feel overwhelmed and uncertain how to navigate the choices and make the right decision.

If you are like most of us, your top concerns are the care, safety and well-being of your loved one. These key concerns are directly impacted by the training, safety technology, activities, and dining programs in memory care facilities.

Before moving to memory care, make sure the community meets your expectations in these areas:

  • Training
  • Care
  • Safety Technology
  • Activities
  • Dining Programs

The Top Five Questions Caregivers Should Ask

The experts recommend asking these five key questions on your tour before deciding on a memory care community:

1. What Dementia Training Does Your Staff Have?

Before choosing a memory care community, you should be sure the caregivers and aides have been specially trained in dementia care.

In memory care facilities, there are likely to be residents in different stages of dementia, each with very different symptoms and needs. Caregiver training can make all the difference in both quality of life and quality of care.

Your loved one is an individual with personal preferences and needs. For this reason, some communities provide specialized training for dementia caregivers as well as certification in person-directed care.

Person-directed care is a highly personalized form of dementia care that treats the person rather than the disease. For example, at Serenades Memory Care, caregivers tailor care to the person according to Teepa Snow’s GEMS® State Model of care. This unique approach treats a person with dementia as precious and unique with distinctive characteristics like gemstones.

Compared to those who undergo the minimum required Florida dementia care training, the dementia-certified caregivers are Serenades Memory Care communities are specially trained to ensure every resident receives the highest level of care based on which “GEM state” they are in the course of the disease.

2. What is Your Approach to Care?

You know your loved one best, and you should be intimately involved in their care planning. Dementia care staff should be trained in how dementia affects cognition, communication, and emotion. Understanding your loved one’s individual abilities is critical to the care plan.

Many memory care facilities use a specialized care approach designed specifically for people with dementia symptoms. For example, caregivers at Serenades Memory Care use Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care®.This renowned philosophy of care:

  • Encourages family members to be partners in their loved one’s care.
  • Uses specific techniques that encourage resident participation in daily life.
  • Celebrates the individuality and uniqueness of each person.
  • Provides a comprehensive understanding of dementia’s effects on the brain and behaviors.
  • Teaches caregivers effective management techniques for challenging behaviors and stress triggers.

Don’t forget to ask this important question: how often are your care plans reviewed and updated? Ideally, a care plan review should occur monthly or as often as necessary since needs will evolve based on the progressive nature of brain disease.

Finally, make sure care at the memory care community includes 24-hour nursing supervision.

Learn more about the building blocks of person-directed care.

3. What Features Does The Community Have to Keep My Loved One Safe?

No one knows better than you how important safety is when a loved one has dementia. Symptoms such as wandering, confusion, memory loss, impaired cognition and mobility all increase the risk of injury or illness.

Be sure to ask for a list of safety features to ensure your loved one is supervised and safe around-the-clock.

You should expect the following safety features in a memory care community:

  • Advanced security systems and secure entrances and exits to keep your loved one from accidentally wandering outside.
  • Special building materials such as anti-skid flooring and zero-entry showers to prevent falls.
  • Wireless emergency call systemintegrated with phones, fire, motion sensors, door and window contacts.
  • Motion sensorssuch as secured window openings, roam alert and incontinence sensors.
  • Regulated water temperatures, anti-scald fixtures and appliances to prevent injuries.
  • Touchless activation of doorways and electrostatic spray disinfection to enhance sanitation.
  • Wearable smart devicesto permit independent and unrestricted access to apartments and outdoor venues.

For the ultimate peace of mind, Serenades Memory Care communities feature enhanced safety technology such as emergency pendants with built-in GPS capabilities and motion sensors to keep caregivers informed of a resident’s location at all times. Next-level technology innovations are offered in some Serenades communities, including artificial intelligence (AI) predictive emergency call systems that not only prevent incidents, but predict them.

After all, the goal is to integrate unobtrusive safety features while permitting greater freedom and independence to provide a better quality of life for those with dementia.

4. What Activities are Available for Residents of the Memory Care Community?

Activities are a significant aspect of dementia care and can be used to minimize and manage unwanted symptoms and behaviors. Yet memory care residents have many different levels of cognitive function and not every activity will work for everyone. Ideally, activities will be customized to the abilities of the individual.

Activities that promote a healthier lifestyle are the foundation of excellent dementia care and keep people with memory challenges engaged, stimulated, calm, and happy. Many people with dementia become restless later in the day due to sundowning and activities help prevent boredom and restlessness.

Ideally, activities in memory care should:

  • Incorporate exercise to improve mood and strength while reducing anxiety and agitation.
  • Encourage use of retained abilities to promote self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Incorporate music whenever possible to ease the symptoms of agitation, anxiety, and frustration.
  • Assign “chores” or helpful activities such as folding laundry to provide a sense of purpose.
  • Incorporate simple games to relieve stress but avoid structured games that may cause frustration.
  • Incorporate social activities to encourage positive interaction with others.

Memory care communities should be able to find activities that your loved one can do without getting overwhelmed or too challenged. If your loved one is someone who gets anxious in groups or has difficulty concentrating, ask about individualized activity opportunities.

According to the Mayo Clinic, research has shown that music in particular can have a beneficial effect on people with dementia. A music and memory program should be an integral part of memory care activity planning.

5. What Meals and Snacks Are Provided Memory Care Residents?

A healthy diet for people with dementia has been shown to have positive emotional, physical, and cognitive effects. Yet, your loved one’s dietary preferences and needs will likely change over the course of the disease.

Eating and drinking can be a challenge for people with dementia. Plus, people with dementia often desire to eat at odd times of day and night. They may want snacks throughout the day or need reminders to drink water. Some people with dementia also develop difficulties swallowing and require modified diets and supervision.

A memory care community should offer a modified dietary program for residents to prevent unwanted and dangerous weight loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. For example, as part of its signature Bravo Dining program, Serenades Memory Care uses the powerful sense of smell, sight, hearing, and taste to encourage eating and better nutrition in its memory care residents. Special techniques are used to trigger neuron connections in the brain and reinforce the connection between hunger and eating, including:

  • Colorful dishware and placemats to create contrast and help food stand out on the plate.
  • Smaller food portions to reduce anxiety caused by a crowded plate.
  • Frequent snacks and lots of choices to increase nutritional intake.
  • Aromatherapy such as essential oils and scented washcloths to engage the sense of smell.
  • Family-style meal prep which serve food out of pots to stimulate appetite and get the gastric juices flowing.
  • Higher calorie food choices to help maintain weight.
  • Chopped, bite-sized foods or finger foods to help with coordination challenges.
  • Soft foods options such as applesauce, cottage cheese, and yogurt to help with chewing and swallowing challenges.

Memory care communities are uniquely positioned to provide the specialized care your loved one needs along with the safety technology, engaging activities, and special dietary accommodations they need to maintain a high quality of life. Asking the right questions will help you feel confident in your choice to move to a memory care community.

Signature Programs at Serenades Memory Care

Serenades by Sonata is an award-winning memory care program unlike any other found in the state of Florida. By focusing on what remains of the memory, Serenades integrates the personal preferences and abilities of residents into daily activities to promote independence, support freedom of choice, and improve quality of life in those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Using a purpose-built model, Serenades Memory Care communities incorporate features proven to positively affect the treatment of dementia symptoms. These include beautiful, yet simplistic floor plans, color-coding, and cueing for orientation and navigation.

Signature Programs offered by Serenades Memory Care promote greater health and well-being in those with Alzheimer’s and dementia:

Learn more about dementia care with these top 5 expert tips
from Serenades Memory Care dementia certified caregivers and schedule a tour today.

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Visit Serenades and find out how a person-centered approach to care has allowed us to continually raise the standard in memory care assisted living.

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How To Encourage Safe Wandering with Alzheimer's and Dementia

How To Encourage Safe Wandering with Alzheimer's and Dementia

There may be no job more demanding than caring for someone. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia, and caregiving demands typically grow over time as the disease progresses.

The symptoms and behaviors of Alzheimer’s and dementia also change as the disease progresses.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six in ten people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander.

Wandering is best described as a tendency to roam or walk around without a clear destination or purpose. For those with Alzheimer’s disease, the destination or purpose of the walk is often forgotten, causing them to become confused or lost.

As a caregiver, you are right to be concerned about the safety of someone who wanders. There may be no harm if wandering occurs in a safe and contained environment. But for someone with dementia who gets lost outside, the risk of injury is high.

What Causes Wandering?

There are several reasons why a person who has dementia might wander and understanding these will help you put some practical interventions in place:

  • Stress, fear, and anxiety
  • Searching for important people, such as old friends or family members
  • Searching for the bathroom
  • Searching for food
  • Visual-spatial challenges
  • Memory loss
  • Boredom, especially at night (called sundowning)
  • Poor sleep and restlessness
  • Pain

People with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia may have pain and can’t express it verbally, so they wander to find relief.  Overstimulating environments can also cause anxiety and the urge to “get away.”

Experts at Serenades Memory Care recommend caregivers assess the home environment for safety issues and modify as needed to permit wandering, but in a safe and controlled environment.

Home Adaptations to Support Safe Wandering

When a loved one has dementia, you are always looking for ways to keep them safe. You can do several things in your home to improve safety for a loved one. Here are some simple tips for modifying the home for a loved one who wanders:

  • Keep spaces clutter-free to minimize fall risk
  • Remove rugs to minimize risk of falls
  • Eliminate the need to use stairs
  • Lock the stovetop to prevent your loved one from trying to cook
  • Keep windows and doors locked
  • Install alarms on all exterior doors
  • Camouflage doors – hang curtains over exterior doors to make them less visible
  • Use a pressure-sensitive alarm mat to notify you when your loved one gets up at night
  • Install gates to dissuade entry to unsafe areas of the house, including stairs
  • Fence in the backyard to allow your loved one access without risk
  • Install safety locks on kitchen cabinets
  • Lock up all medications and cleaning products

Keep in mind, it may be impossible to identify all the hazards in the home that put your loved one at risk. Memory care communities such as Serenades Memory Care in Florida have safety features built into the design to ensure the safety and well-being of those with memory loss around-the-clock. Known as purpose-built memory care, architectural features are purposefully used to promote familiarity, independence, and safety, while minimizing the feeling of confinement that breeds anxiety and agitation.

Behavioral Strategies for Wandering Caused by Dementia

Knowing that part of the cause of wandering is boredom, anxiety, and fear, learning behavioral strategies to keep your loved one occupied can prevent unsafe wandering. The added benefit is reducing unwanted agitation and frustration.

There are some tried and true ways to help a loved one with dementia, but trial and error might be necessary to find out the secret sauce that works for them.

The certified dementia care experts at Serenades Memory Care incorporate these strategies into daily caregiving:

  • Redirect and distract with an activity or exercise
  • Find out if your loved one is in pain, too hot or cold, thirsty, or hungry
  • Minimize noise and overstimulation
  • Turn on the musicmusic has been found to have a calming effect on people with dementia.
  • Listen to your loved one’s concerns with compassion, and to the extent you can, try and alleviate their fears and anxieties.
  • Provide lots of healthy snacks – wandering uses excess energy reserves and frequent snacks can help offset unwanted weight loss caused by dementia.

While it may be impossible to prevent wandering completely, you will want to permit safe wandering while reducing the risk of falls.

Most importantly, measures should be taken to prevent your loved one with Alzheimer’s from venturing outdoors, particularly in Florida, where summer heat can be life threatening. If you’re caring for a Florida resident with Alzheimer’s, here are three tips to help you keep your loved one safe during the hot summer months.

Technology for People with Dementia

Safety products that permit safe wandering have come a long way over the years. Today, there are a range of devices to manage and monitor your loved one’s activities and give yourself a break from constant supervision.

Keep in mind, technology cannot replace caregiving. These devices should support and augment your care rather than replace it.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • An Emergency Response System (ERS) detects falls and have built-in GPS tracking.
  • In-home video monitors with continuous feeds can be monitored via smartphones.
  • Smart sensors collect data, detect unusual movement, and monitor for smoke and carbon dioxide.
  • Safety Alarms alert you to movement and can be installed on beds, chairs, wheelchairs, doors, and windows.
  • The Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return Program provides 24-hour support and emergency response for a medical crisis or when a loved one becomes lost due to wandering.

Constant supervision and interaction with your loved one can be exhausting, expensive, and time-consuming. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses and symptoms and behaviors become more than you can manage at home, a memory care community can help.

Purpose-built memory care communities are specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and provide around-the-clock care to assure the safety and well-being of those with memory challenges and wandering symptoms.

Schedule a visit to Serenades Memory Care to learn more about
our person-centered approach to Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

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Women and Alzheimer’s Disease

Women and Alzheimer’s Disease

Women are disproportionately impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s disease are women.

Why? While we still don’t know the exact reason why Alzheimer’s disease affects women differently and with greater frequency, hormones have been implicated as a culprit. That’s because estrogen supports the area of the brain responsible for forming memories, the hippocampus.

Women and Alzheimer’s Risk

Age is a well-known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, and women live on average longer than men. Yet science also links hormones to increased risk.

In women, estrogen regulates the hippocampus – the brain region attributed to memory. During menopause, women experience a rapid decline of estrogen which some believe may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It also regulates stress and inflammation, two triggers that can negatively impact memory and more complex neural networks in the brain.

Today, leading researchers continue to examine the role of hormones and hormone therapy in the pathogenesis, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Facts and Figures About Women and Alzheimer’s Disease

According to The Alzheimer’s Association, the disproportionate impact of Alzheimer’s disease on women is attributed to both age and biological factors. Genetics also play a role. Some research even suggests societal and cultural factors contribute to the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in women, including education, occupation, and reproductive history.

Here are the latest research findings about women and Alzheimer’s disease:

  • An estimated 6.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Of those, 4 million are women and 2.5 million are men
  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women
  • In Florida, the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is projected to increase by 24% by 2025.
  • The prevalence of AD increases with age, from 1% to 15% of all people in their 80s
  • Approximately one-third of Alzheimer’s cases are thought to be preventable
  • Women’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease at age 65 is approximately 1 in 5, or 20%
  • Comparatively, men’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease at age 65 is 12%
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the 4th leading cause of death among women and is attributed to 6% of all deaths behind heart disease, cancer and stroke
  • Women aged 60+ are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as they are to develop breast cancer
  • Risk factors for developing dementia are more common among women, including depression and anxiety
  • Women who have three or more children have a 12 percent lower risk of dementia compared to women who have one child*
  • Women are more likely to mask symptoms, resulting in more severe burden of disease at diagnosis and more rapid deterioration
  • Women make up more the 60% of dementia caregivers

*The link between reproductive history and Alzheimer’s risk is new, but points to more gender disparity associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

For more comprehensive information related to 2022 Alzheimer’s disease fact and figures, download the latest Alzheimer’s Association Report. The Alzheimer’s Association also publishes these quick facts about women and Alzheimer’s disease.

Women and Alzheimer’s Research

The conversation around women and Alzheimer’s disease has broadened to encompass world-class scientists and a health system renowned for pioneering medical breakthroughs. In February 2022, Cleveland Clinic joined forces with The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM) to form The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement at Cleveland Clinic (WAM at Cleveland Clinic). The partnership will expand the focus on prevention to understanding the connection between gender and neurodegenerative conditions.

This is significant in more ways than one. For starters, additional funds allocated to research will fuel discoveries around neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and how they affect men and women differently. More importantly, it could lead to significant advancements in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Another group called WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s (WA2) advocates more funding for women-focused Alzheimer’s research. The organization believes “sex-based differences are the gateway to precision medicine, offering new scientific avenues to accelerate progress.”

According to its website, by understanding gender differences,  WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s hopes to achieve medical breakthroughs that can help both women and men and move us toward more effective treatment and care.

Women and Alzheimer’s Prevention

Still, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which is one reason why medical professionals emphasize prevention. For decades doctors have been touting the importance of healthy eating and sleep habits and the unwanted health effects of stress and anxiety. Science suggests lifestyle and behavioral modifications may prevent Alzheimer’s disease and the resulting physical, social, and financial toll it takes on affected families.

If you are going to get Alzheimer’s disease, most would prefer to know sooner rather than later. Genetic testing such as the apolipoprotein E (APOE) screening tool now helps people understand their genetic risk. Understanding risk can lead to earlier interventions that may influence or slow Alzheimer’s disease progression. It may produce an opportunity to participate in clinic trials. At the very least, early intervention allows one to make preparations and plans for the future to ensure proper care and a higher quality of life.

Despite your genes, gender, eating and exercise habits, there is still much to learn about what causes cognitive decline and associated dementias. In the meantime, examining the biological differences between genders will help scientists develop more accurate dementia risk measurements and help medical professionals design better prevention strategies to benefit both women and men.

Women and Memory Care

Given what we know about women and Alzheimer’s disease, technological and medical advancements are on the horizon. Product innovations are already here.

One such innovation called Serenades For Her celebrates the distinct differences between genders by emphasizing women’s need for privacy, comfort and socialization. This new and exclusively female memory care neighborhoodat Serenades Memory Care communities offers profound implications for the future of memory care in Florida senior living communities.

Women exclusive memory care combines robust social programming and activities to create a sense of sisterhood, enduring friendships, and mutual support among women with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The all-female memory care approach at Serenades is pioneering the way in which we manage the distinctive symptoms of dementia in women to provide a higher quality of life throughout all phases of the disease. 

For more facts about the cause, prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and women, download the latest copy of the World Alzheimer’s Report.

Discover exclusively female memory care at Serenades for Her.
Find a community near you or schedule a visit to learn more.

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Family Letter Limelights: Sonata Boca Raton, May 2022

Family Letter Limelights: Sonata Boca Raton, May 2022

Occasionally we find it necessary to unapologetically toot our own horn. Particularly when it illuminates the amazing work Sonata’s team members are doing every day. This month our Family Letter Limelight features a shout out to Sonata Boca Raton. Thank you, Sonata Boca Raton, for understanding the importance of connecting with family.

Letter To Sonata Boca Raton

Thank you, Shelly Ann, Stephanie, Jennifer and the entire team at Sonata Boca Raton for the excellent care you have provided for my mom and in helping our family with this impossible and sad condition.

The Sonata team works to bring out the BEST in each person through careful medical attention, engaged activity, healthy meals and a true understanding of personal interaction.

The Sonata team understands the ‘whole person’ and the importance of connecting with family. They made it a priority to have safe, distanced, outdoor visits even in the height of the pandemic – all within the guidelines. They also have social gatherings for families and do so much onsite in Memory Care including exercise, pet visits, games, musicians, and sing-alongs. One of the reasons we chose Sonata is due to the engagement and true understanding they have for the emotional well-being needs.

Memory Care is not the same around the country, or state, or even locally. My mom is in a much better place than when she was on her own and so vulnerable. Sonata has helped ‘reinvent’ what Memory Care is by creating a community feeling – and all in a beautiful setting with a lot of both indoor and outdoor space.

The team at Serenades really cares about the residents and puts their heart into their work and communicates with families.

It’s a tough condition to navigate through and we are grateful for the support and environment that Sonata provides.

Thank you Shelly Ann and to the entire team,

Anonymous

About Family Letter Limelights

Occasionally and unabashedly we like to illuminate the amazing work and service our team members provide at Sonata Senior Living by sharing letters we receive from our families. Family Letter Limelights represent unedited, unsolicited letters we have selected to share with the public.

We share these letters in a spirit of gratitude to acknowledge the dedication of our team members and associates who make it possible for Sonata to fulfill its mission of enriching the lives of older adults through innovation, care and services that honor individuality and personal choice. At Serenades Memory Care, our personalized approach is evidenced through purpose-built design and person-directed care, as well as our unwavering emphasis on service excellence. Community, care and programming are all designed to support freedom and independence, while celebrating the individuality of every resident affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

About Serenades Memory Care

Serenades by Sonata is an award-winning memory care program unlike any other found in the state of Florida. By focusing on what remains of the memory, Serenades Memory Care integrates the personal preferences and abilities of residents into daily activities to promote independence, support freedom of choice, and improve quality of life in those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Using a purpose-built model, Serenades Memory Care communities incorporate features proven to positively affect the treatment of dementia symptoms. These include beautiful, yet simplistic floor plans, color-coding, and cueing for easy orientation and navigation.

About Sonata Senior Living

Sonata Senior Living is a licensed owner, developer, and operator of independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities located exclusively in Florida. Recognized by Argentum as a Best of the Best Award recipient for memory care programming and design, Sonata Senior Living is committed to enriching the lives of older adults through constant innovation, programming, and services that recognize individuality and personal choice. Partners include the Florida Senior Living Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care® and Argentum. For more information visit sonataseniorliving.com.

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